On September 19, Fire Captain Ted Hall and Fire Fighter Specialist Arnie Quinones, who lost their lives in the 2009 Station Fire, received a tribute that only nine other public safety personnel have ever received – the naming of a California memorial interchange in their honor. This unique recognition is given solely to those who have provided extraordinary public service or contributed to the public good, and must obtain the approval of the California State Legislature in order to be effected. As such, the memorial dedication is a fitting acknowledgement for these two heroes who gave their all to protect the lives of others. "Ted and Arnie took it upon themselves to take courageous action to save the lives of others," said Fire Chief Daryl Osby at the dedication ceremony of the memorial interchange held at Fire Station 129. "Their contributions will remain with our Department forever."
The crew at Fire Station 129 graciously opened their doors to the family, friends and colleagues of Hall and Quinones, and proudly displayed the American flag between the ladders of two quints in front of the apparatus floor for all the community to see. The ceremony began with Deputy Chief John Tripp, who noted that "Today is special, because today shows the commitment of never forgetting." Following the presentation of the colors by the Honor Guard and an invocation by Chaplain Rich Hall, local officials paid tribute to these remarkable men who symbolized the noble cause of firefighting. "Fire Captain Ted Hall and Engineer Arnie Quinones exemplify the ideals of courage and bravery in the Los Angeles County Fire Department, who have dedicated their lives to the protection of life and property," said Antonovich.
His remarks were echoed by local Assemblyman Pete Knight of the 36th District. "Our job in the community is to never forget what Ted and Arnie did for our safety," said Knight. Retired Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman also made an appearance and spoke of how Hall and Quinones' bravery inspired a homeless man to donate his last two dollars to their families after hearing of their passing. "That fateful day changed the lives of many," said Freeman.
Though visibly moved, representatives from the Hall and Quinones families spoke to express their thanks and gratitude to our Department for the support they have received over the past three years. Hall's son, Randall, gave a brief, emotional thanks. "My family will always be eternally grateful," he said. In a statement, Quinones' wife Lori said, "The naming of this interchange highway demonstrates to our daughter Sophia that her father's sacrifice is not forgotten." Lori and Sophia were then joined by Hall's wife, Kathy, in unveiling a representation of the interchange signage.
Thanks to the efforts of our Department, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and the California State Legislature, all motorists traveling along the interchange of California Highway 14 and Angeles Forest Highway will now see the names of Hall and Quinones, and remember their acts of heroism. To view a KCBS video of the dedication ceremony, click the "play" button below: